Song of the Day #2,367: ‘Cover Up the Sun’ – Counting Crows


Best Songs of 2014 – #11
‘Cover Up the Sun’ – Counting Crows

I saw Counting Crows in concert last summer and loved the show but was underwhelmed by a couple of tracks from their then-upcoming album, Somewhere Under Wonderland.

When I got the album, I was pleased to find that they’d played my two least favorite tracks, and the rest of the record was as light and lovable as those two were ponderous and dull.

Best of all is ‘Cover Up the Sun,’ a rockabilly road song that owes its setting, if not its sound, to New Orleans. I am a sucker for rock bands going a little bit country, and Counting Crows have always done that with plenty of style.

Adam Duritz sings the hell out of this song, as he does all songs, and gets in a few choice lyrics as well. My favorites come in the third verse when he describes what I’d have to call a “street nun.”

First he remarks that she “keeps the chapel pris- if not Sis- tine.” Brilliant!

Then he delivers this beauty: “If you can’t keep your shit together when God is on your side, what chance do you have when he’s not around?”

When he’s on, he’s on, and he’s definitely on in this song.

Colorado passes by like writing on a wall
Headed eastward down to New Orleans
Dipping into Texas as the stars are fading out
And there’s still a lot of country in between

When I left California I was 29 years old
And the world just spun me around
Now I watch Louisiana scroll across the window pane
And I’m facing the direction I am bound

Cover up the sun, let the river run
Make that water come and wash me away

Me, Clifton and the king of cats are sat down in the road
Pedro said, boys, we’re three of a kind
He said I sat with river rats and I hung my hat with diplomats
Had four brothers once upon a time

He said they tore the country far away from the Rio Grande
And the road just wore them down
So they bought a house beside a lake, outside of New Orleans
And they stared in the direction of the escalating sound

Cover up the gun, let the river run
Take this good man’s son and wash him away

Sister indecipherable is talking to a wall
Back in New York city, she’s a queen
Well, resurrect or genuflect, she saves the one she can’t protect
Keeps the chapel Pris’, if not Sis’ tine

She drinks Absinthe mixed with Kerosene to keep herself upright
But the word still brings her down
If you can’t keep your shit together
When God is on your side
What chance do you have when he’s not around?

Cover up the sun, make that water run
Let the river come and take me away

People of the Mardi Gras, in their Tuesday best
Waiting for the South to rise again
Children of Geronimo grieving for the West
Feather dressed and marching their refrain

Oh in the dark of Armstrong Park the marching bands ascend
But they never make a sound
Just a quiet prayer for Congo Square
The silent conversation there
The night to rest our eyes in
We just look to the horizon for the change

Cover up the sun, let the river run
I pray the waters come and wash me away

Carved in the sky, I’ll make that diesel fly
Oh just lay me down to die and just take me away

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,367: ‘Cover Up the Sun’ – Counting Crows

  1. Dana says:

    Given your fondness for country, I suppose this selection isn’t surprising. I like this song, but my favorites are “Earthquake Driver” and “Scarecrow.”

  2. Maddie says:

    Glad to see this song and album getting some love from you. 🙂 I’m a really big fan of it, and I think I’ve grown to appreciate every track now (though some more than others for sure :P).

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